The list of corrections to an Atlantic story aimed at undermining the pro-life movement is growing.
Four corrections now stand at the bottom of the story in tiny print, after a series of minor and major edits were made to the piece regarding matters ranging from the science of fetal development to basic facts concerning attribution of sources for the Tuesday story.
“This article originally stated that the doctors claimed fetuses had no reflexive responses to medical instruments at 12 weeks,” the latest correction reads. “We regret the error.” An earlier correction notes the outlet got the occupation and religious identification of someone named in the article incorrect.
The story attempts to portray ultrasounds as a gimmick used by pro-life activists to guilt women into not ending the life of their unborn child. Initially the story falsely stated a fetus has “not heart to speak of” at six weeks, in an attempt to portray the impactful procedure (ultrasound) as misleading to women. A slew of other facts were incorrect, and the story has been undergoing edits for days now, some of which are not noted in the corrections.
A line in the piece that initially read, “It is dubious to call this movement a ‘heartbeat’; there is no heart to speak of,” was deleted.
The edits started within hours of publication Tuesday, including toning down the original headline and subheadline to reflect their inaccurate statement regarding fetal heartbeats. The initial headline read, “How the Ultrasound Pushed the Idea That a Fetus Is a Person,” and the subhead read, “The technology has been used to create an imaginary ‘heartbeat’ and sped-up videos that falsely depict a response to stimulus.”
The headline later Tuesday was changed to read, “How Ultrasound Became Political” and the claim about fake heartbeats was removed from the subhead, which was changed to read, “The technology has been used to create sped-up videos that falsely depict a response to stimulus.”
Another edit not mentioned was a series of corrections to get the facts right on an abortion bill that was passed in Ohio. At various points, the story indicated the bill was passed in Indiana under Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and that the bill was passed under Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. In fact the bill was passed in Ohio under Kasich.
The major corrections seriously undermine the credibility of the piece and its central assertions.
New York Post op-ed editor Seth Mandel joked in a tweet: “Looking forward to The Atlantic’s follow up: How Maps Pushed the Idea the Earth Is Round.”
“When the corrections are complete, this will be an article about pirarucu fishing in the Amazon,” someone else tweeted.
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